Russia » Economics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Disgraced Russian oligarch seeks multi-billion-dollar compensation from Roman Abramovich

Oligarch Boris Berezovsky determined to sue his former business partner, Roman Abramovich 

Russian oligarch in disgrace, Boris Berezovsky, continues setting claims against his fatherland. The oligarch stated recently that his former partners had robbed him according to the instructions from the Kremlin administration.

Boris Berezovsky said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper that he was going to file a lawsuit against well-known oligarch Roman Abramovich at one of London courts during this summer. “Abramovich made me sell assets in Russia at low prices,” Berezovsky said. According to the exiled oligarch, Berezovsky sold 50 percent of Russia's oil company Sibneft in 2000-2003 for $1.3 billion and 49 percent of Russia's central TV channel, ORT, for $150-170 million. Furthermore, in 2003-2004 Berezovsky sold 25 percent of shares of the Russian aluminium giant, Rusal, for $500 million. “I was told in all of those occasions that they would take the shares away from me, if I was not going to sell them,” Boris Berezovsky said. As soon as the oligarch is through with calculating the financial damage, he will sue Roman Abramovich seeking multi-billion-dollar compensations.

”According to my preliminary estimates, Abramovich owes me a half of the current cost of Sibneft assets, which he owns nowadays (about $4.5 billion). I was forced to sell 25 percent of Rusal shares for $500 million, although Abramovich sold the same shareholding for $1.8 billion,” Boris Berezovsky said.

Berezovksky does not exclude that President Putin may act a defendant on the case as well, in addition to Chelsea club owner, Roman Abramovich.

Specialists say, however, that the disgraced Russian oligarch did not lose anything. Berezovsky was paid the market value of Sibneft's shares in 2000: the shares of the oil company were evaluated at the total of $1.5 billion five years ago.

The most interesting aspect in the story is absolutely different, though. Berezovsky's current intentions stir up dark moments of his previous activities in the post-Soviet Russia.

Sibneft, a Russian oil giant, was originally a state-run enterprise. The company was formed on 24 August 1995: it became the last oil jewel of the Kremlin. Boris Berezovsky established control over the company with the help of pawn auctions, the legitimacy of which has been called into question nowadays. The oligarch's bid for the company was evaluated at only $100 million, although the enterprise received a six-billion-dollar profit last year. When the oligarch sold 50 percent of Sibneft's shares for $1.3 billion, he struck an extremely profitable transaction: 1,000 percent of income in only five years.

The criminal case against Boris Berezovsky in Russia is based on fraud charges in connection with the theft of 2,033 cars from the Russian car giant, AvtoVAZ. Russia's largest car-making enterprise was experiencing an economic crisis in the beginning of the 1990s and accumulated huge debts to regional budgets. The enterprise was offered to pay the debts with its ready-made products. About 30,000 brand new Russian cars were sold through Berezovsky's firms. The funds were partially transferred to offshore zones. The budget of the Samara region of Russia, where AvtoVAZ is based, suffered the damage, the cost of which was equal to 2,033 cars.

According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, the money, which was received from the transaction, was spent on elite class real estate and media assets.

Latest statements from the disgraced oligarch are based on the public opinion in Europe, which supposedly takes his side in his disputes with Russia. According to Berezovsky, the West is turning its back on the Russian administration. However, the British justice may turn its back on Boris Berezovsky himself, if they look into the matter of the oligarch's shady financial activities in Russia.

On the photo: Boris Berezovsky (left) and Roman Abramovich (right)

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